Art: What Does A Successful Concept Art Portfolio Look Like?
 
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    What Does A Successful Concept Art Portfolio Look Like?

    Taken from the BioWare Post

    What You Need

    To be a Concept Artist for the games industry, you need the following:

    • IMAGINATION – if you don't have this as a foundation, you will never draw anything uniquely cool or interesting. We have seen plenty of great renderers with no imagination. Those portfolios are tough because the work looks good, but there is not an original idea in the bunch.
    • Next would be the raw ability to draw. Draw, Draw, Draw, as they say. You have to draw more than the next guy to get the job.
    • Ability to communicate your idea quickly, both verbally and through your drawings. You also must be able to receive and give constructive and balanced critiques. This is in the top 4 attributes. It is so important to work with the team and not be the lone gunman.
    • Good color sense. A mastery of color and how it relates is essential.
    • Ability to create mood with lighting and atmosphere. Most environment pieces are all about the moods they evoke. Composition is also very important.
    • Ability to work in different styles. It's great to show off your style, but also show how you can mimic and adapt to other styles of rendering. This makes any concept artist more valuable.
    • Ability to deliver something that is better than what was asked for, yet still meets all the criteria, on time, and the iterations well-communicated.


    What do we look for in a portfolio?

    We look to see if the concept artist has a range of subject matter. We look for as many of the following, as well-executed as possible:
    • Characters – We like to see personality and "story" in the character. The drawing should answer many questions, but also invite the audience to ask even more, compelling them to want to learn more about the character. Have a sheet of facial expressions of the same character to show different moods and attitudes.
    • Costumes – This is a chance to show off your sense of fashion. The costume is part of the character. Tell more of the story, showing the same character in different clothing as a good exercise. The clothing should have the right balance of form and function.
    • Creatures – Must be believable, i.e., through the study of real animal/human musculature and skeletal structure, create a creature you believe can move, eat, fight, breed, and so on.
    • Environments – Natural exterior environments that features organic structure and flora. Lighting, color and mood are essential.
    • Environments – Exterior environments that feature architecture. These should be integrated into the landscapes that surround them. Must show a command of perspective, an understanding or architectural design, show the influences of various geographic and historical influences. We like to see this mixed with a bit of fantasy or sci-fi. A good split for "real" versus "imagined" architecture is about 70/30 - so a subtle approach to integrating fantasy into a concept.
    • Environments – Interiors should have everything from the above point, but from the inside.
    • Tech – We like to see how a concept artist understands technical things. How does a machine fit together? When you look at the drawing, can you imagine it working? This can be a fantastic catapult with gears and levers, or it can be a futuristic device. Both should look like they can work, have a sense of industrial design that reflects the culture and time they come from, and of course, look cool.
    • Vehicles – Believe it or not, it is hard to find people who are really good at this, so it's one other thing we look for to help balance our team of concept artists. See tech above. Good vehicles can make or break a game (especially if the game play revolves around driving).

    Keep in mind we don't expect a single person to excel at all the subject matter. Most people have their favourite thing they grew up drawing. But try to include as many of the above as possible. I remember we had someone apply who said they would like a job as a female character artist, and sure enough he was an expert at depicting the female form! However, for the size of our studio (and for the size of most game studios) this request is too specialized for us.

    Please also include personal work, sketchbook material, and figure drawing studies.

    Concept art is the most competitive space in video game art. So your submission has to look better than the competition. Select only the best pieces to feature in your portfolio. Visiting websites or forums that feature concept artists or concept art for critique and comment is a good sounding board.

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    Thank you! Because I've been thinking a lot about this recently as well.

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    This is awesome. Thanks so much

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    awesome post! vote for sticky!

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    I love concept art ... and I love this being posted ... I would just like to point out though that this is helpful no matter what! even if your not particularly a concept artist with a desire to draw the never ending set of sequals to a popular game about pig aliens with wings that fart on humans for fun. personally I aspire to use concept art to make abstract animation or the frank rabbit from donnie darko ... I have an extreme interest in make up design and I love movies... but if they're still working on duke nukem forever when I've done everything else I will deffinately try and help with that...

    anyway thank you

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    i have already read this article from bioware but thanks again because its very useful for everyone
    see ya

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    Quote Originally Posted by LosPescados View Post
    awesome post! vote for sticky!
    I agree, and it would be great if there were more professional input on portfolios in this thread.

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    Yeah, this is a great post. Came across it awhile back posted somewhere else. Gives you a better idea for what to shoot for.

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    I approve of what you have said here, Amber.

    The Louisianian Sketchbook You can Comment and Criticize if you want.
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    This is good to see. So you know what they expect out of yah!

    Great Stuff ^^

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    thanks this is great info

    my portfolios
    special k

    school k

    my sketches.
    -K-

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    This is some good information!! Thanks for sharing it with us!

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    Great information, thank you.

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    I like to become an artist alot but actually, I don't meet the requirements
    I think that I should accept to be an art lover, not an artist

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  19. #16
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    I was going to write something encouraging for LittleAngle but I think that's spam.

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    Fantastic. Its ALWAYS good to know what is actually looked for in a portfolio, so easy to lose track at times. Very very useful post

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    Thank you for posting this. I think i will make it a to do list for my practices. See if i can cover all that said (written :p.) I still have much to catch up, i guess

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    I'm a newbie here, wow reading this post really encouraging my self to be better every time I draw, thanks a lot!

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    I know what to look for now

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    Always nice to know that there are people out there that care for he little guy. This will most defiantly make everyone's portfolio a lot better!

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    This is good information. Thanks!

    (And thanks to Bioware as well!)

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    After reading this (and it's awesome info!!), I know I have a looooong way to go. >_<

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    thanks al lot...this list can help us alot =)

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    Thank you for posting this, the info given here is golden.

    Stop your grinning and drop your linen! Found them!


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    That's a good summary. One thing I would add is having 'Production Art'. Not just sexy pin-ups and illustrations but practical illustrations a 3D artist can use and build assets from. I've been in a games a few years, and as a recruiter I look for practical, day to day art that is clear, functional and can be readily translated by modelers and 3D Artists.

    Here's some examples of top pros that I look up to and I had to compete with for jobs when I was working in Socal.
    1. Peter Han = well balanced subjectmatter, ie. characters AND enviro, props, ;versatile; production ready art and all-around bad-ass-ery
    http://designandconcepts.blogspot.com/

    2. Darren Quach = L.A./Art Center style environment and industrial design mastery:
    http://dqsketches.blogspot.com/

    3. Francis Tsai = top freelancer ; balance of comics, games and illustration
    http://teamgt.com/?page_id=505

    Hope those examples help,

    -Chris

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  33. #29
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    Thanks so much for this post. This was really helpfull

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    WOW. That's alot of..everything. I didn't expect anything less haha but that seems just...I don't know. It makes me realize just how hard I gotta work and it's a long way to go until I can see myself in even half of those steps. This summary definitely gave me something to think about. I think I'm going to write it (not add to favourites, not print, not copy n paste, but WRITE) down and really think about it.

    For a person like me it's so typical and natural to think that I'll never meet with the requirements but I think that I want this too much haha. For once my stubborness is a good thing! Anyway, thank you so much for this. I know that many people find this thread very useful.

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